Soccer is proposed for Iola High School

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

Maggie Wilson pleaded Monday night, in a measured and fact-filled way, for USD 257 board members to approve soccer as a new Iola High School sport.
Wilson, a junior, said five Southeast Kansas League schools, Coffeyville, Columbus, Fort Scott, Independence and Pittsburg, were involved in fall co-ed soccer and that Iola could join at little or no expense. She targeted cost at $7,000 and said $4,000 already had been committed by donors.
“I think we can find sponsorships and do fund raising to take care of the remaining amount,” she said.
Groundbreaking occurred last week for a sports complex north of Riverside Park, where flood-destroyed houses have been removed, and soccer fields will be a part of the area. That would be home for an Iola High team, Wilson said.
A survey of students found 38 at the high school and 14 in the middle school were interesting in playing soccer, 40 percent girls. Of the 52, just 10 are involved in fall activities this year, which led Wilson to a primary talking point.
“This fall 71 percent of students are not involved in any activities,” she said, “and if soccer were in place, with the number of those interested involved, that would be reduced to 59 percent.”
Involving students in extracurricular activities is an ongoing effort at the middle and high schools.
Board members made no commitment, but Mary Apt, president, allowed that “if it’s a high interest area, it’s something we have to consider. It is a high-profile sport in Iola.”
One consideration board members mentioned was that although funding might be met the first year with sponsorships and fund raising, they have to be concerned with finances for the long term.